Wine Lore and Laughter - Sponsored
Yalumba Wine Company is a lot like an old Barossa Shiraz vine - its
roots reach back to the very beginning of South Australian wine-growing
while at the same time it is very much a part of the modern day success
story of the Australian wine industry.
Yalumba celebrated its 150th anniversary. For a century and a half
the Angaston-based winery has been an integral part of the Australian
wine scene, riding the cyclic fortunes of an industry which has endured
as many low points as it has highs.
is Australia's oldest family-owned wine company and in many respects
the history of Yalumba is a reflection of the history of the Australian
the old Shiraz vine, Yalumba in its early years was primarily a producer
of fortified wines, much of it for export. Today, however, the company
is a thoroughly modern wine business and one of Australia's largest
exporters. Proprietor Robert Hill Smith, who with his brother, Sam,
purchased the family company outright in 1989, says that while 1999
was a celebration year for Yalumba, the focus is very much looking
is our vision to remain independent and to be recognised internationally
as the finest independent winemaker in Australia,' said Robert.
such a confident and firm vision would sit comfortably with the company's
founder, Samuel Smith, a former Dorset brewer who turned the first
sod for the company when he purchased 30 acres of land just above
Angaston in 1849. Samuel Smith, a hardworking Congreg-ationalist,
deeply involved in his church, had arrived in Angaston with his wife
Mary and four children in 1847. Initially he worked for John Howard
Angas as a gardener. By 1851 Samuel Smith was already occupying his
30 acre vineyard which he had named Yalumba (meaning all the country
Samuel, perhaps displaying the gambler's streak not uncommon among
latter day Smiths, headed for the Victorian goldfields in 1852 and
returned in a short time a wealthy man, with £300. With this
he purchased a further 80 acres, for £100, allocated a similar
sum for two horses and a harness, a plough and other items of equipment
and set aside sufficient funds to build a new and more substantial
records show that in 1860 Samuel made 60 hogsheads of wine and by
this time his son Sidney was involved in the business as a winemaker.
The wine company continued to grow during the next decade and by the
time of Samuel's death in 1876, Yalumba had become a significant purchaser
of grapes from other growers and the volume produced had multiplied
by about 650 per cent. Families descended from those early growers
are still supplying grapes to Yalumba.
at 150 years of age, has a rich and colourful history, a history which
mirrors the fluctuating fortunes of the Australian wine industry as
it developed from a colonial outpost producing robust fortified wine
to a dynamic player in the global wine market of the 1990s.
good enough reason for a celebration. But perhaps during those celebrations,
as the past is pondered, a toast to the pioneering, aggressive and
innovative Yalumba of today would also be appropriate.
the brewer from Dorset would agree.
Yalumba Wine Company